Good news for Arpaio
This evening President Trump spoke in Phoenix Arizona on immigration and border policy, in front of supporters and members of the Customs and Border Patrol Agency (CBP).
The border was a central focus of Trump’s campaign although much of the implementation of his policies has been unclear.
Today’s speech provided some of his most specific policy plans on such issues as deportations, the border wall, and other facets in his first address on immigration since his election.
Trump hinted that Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the hard-line law enforcement official and staunch supporter of the campaign against undocumented immigrants whose aggressive policies recently led to legal trouble, would be pardoned.
Sheriff Arpaio was found in contempt of court when he tried to implement an order to detain people in his office who were suspected of being illegal immigrants.
“I’ll make a prediction — I think he is going to be just fine, but I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy. But Sheriff Joe can feel good”, Trump declared.
In a press conference, this afternoon White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders mentioned that Mr. Trump would not pardon Sheriff Arpaio, however, today’s speech strongly hinted otherwise, and it is likely that Arpaio will be pardoned in the weeks to come.
Echoes of Charlottesville
President Trump also defended his stance on the Charlottesville protests and criticized members of the press who were critical of his initial comments on the crisis.
The rally also saw protesters who were weary of additional nativist sentiment against immigrants.
Scores of protesters chanted slogans and raised signs including “Fire Trump” and “Fake President” and in response, Trump replied with comments mocking ABC host George Stephanopoulos for being short, and also began a chant with the crowd of “CNN sucks”.
Fortunately, Nasty Politics News was not included in the chants.
Surveying the Border, Enforcement Agencies
Today’s rally was preceded by visits to CBP facilities, including the city of Yuma where the President observed drone and aerial technology used to surveil the countryside and river landscapes along the border.
The President also met with leaders of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) who requested additional funding and reaffirmed their support of the border wall and additional enforcement.
Thomas Homan, acting director of ICE said that recent executive orders have helped stem the rate of illegal crossings, including electronic sensors and additional fencing.
Today’s rally echoed the energy and raucousness of Mr. Trump’s previous visits to the state during the campaign.
As ICE, CBP and other agencies begin implementing more strict enforcement, and the “hiring surge” begins within law enforcement agencies, Arizona, and neighboring states will be crucial proving grounds for the new immigration policies, and a litmus test for the Republican parties’ platform for the mid-terms and beyond.